A little about me: I live outside Washington DC with my wife and 4 young kids. I have a career and generally a pretty busy life. I have been heavy literally my whole life. I was a big kid, played football in high school and while I was athletic then, I was fat because I ate garbage like a lot of high schoolers. Then came college and my weight just continued to increase and into adulthood.
Now along the way, I would sometimes go on a 30 day this or 60 day that and lose a few pounds and then it would always come back. I developed horrendous habits related to food across these years. Like I said, in a nutshell, I have been fat my whole life.
The guy who never took his shirt off at the beach? That was me.
Avoided the pool? Me.
Struggled to find clothes that fit somewhat decent? Totally.
All this, my whole life. I got to a fairly low point in late 2016. I was 40 years old, I weighed 280 pounds, I hated how I looked, and how I felt. My diet was terrible, and I was generally feeling sorry for myself for a bunch of reasons.
Sometime around late 2016, I found the MFCEO podcast, started devouring the content and found that this was the wake-up call I needed. I was sick of being fat. I was sick of hating what I saw in the mirror. I was sick of being out of shape. When I listened to the podcast I was listening in the context of fitness as opposed to entrepreneurship. It is all 100% applicable. I was finally starting to think I could make a real life change. I think the biggest point that had to get hammered into my head is that there is no quick fix. Success, in this case, weight loss and fitness, would take time. It was going to be hard, but if the work is done, the results will come. It seems so simple writing it now. I am not sure at the time I started that I fully believed it. In fact, my favorite quote from Win the Day is “the work always comes before the belief.” So with that, starting in January, I got to work…Jan 2 to be exact. Your stereotypical New Year Resolution.
As I got into the month, I started thinking about how I could set myself up to succeed long-term and I heard Andy mention the Transphormation contest with 1st Phorm on the podcast. This was scary to me. Putting my fat, shirtless pictures on the internet where some strangers could judge them was not my idea of fun. It terrified me. I didn’t know anything about 1st Phorm and what they were about. However, I told myself, if I wanted different results, I needed to stretch myself and try something new to hold myself accountable. So on January 17, 201, at 8:58 pm I snapped some pictures and loaded my pics onto the website… made a short 1-minute video, putting myself out there, and explaining WHY I was going to transphorm.
I was in.
It was on.
I started food prepping every week and working out. I stumbled around for a week or so before I found Jeremy Mullins. I was quickly realizing how little I knew about nutrition and about fitness. I literally had no clue what a macro was, for example. I started reading, watching videos and interacting in Jeremy’s MacroEd community, just trying to learn. I started listening to podcasts like The Training and Nutrition Truth as well as others. Changing my life and view of food and fitness was my focus now. I was learning a ton and putting my lessons to work. I started following Jeremy’s macro plan, which required me to measure and track my food. This was a huge breakthrough. Once I really started hitting my macros, the scale started moving.
I tried to mix it up with my fitness this year. Early on, I was in the gym lifting weights every day and doing some cardio. Once the spring came around I decided to try cycling. I was constantly pushing myself to try new things now as my mindset was evolving. I had not ridden a bike in 20 years. My old college bike still had the 1997 expiration sticker on it. In April, I started riding every week and I loved it. Cycling was a great workout, and time I had to myself each week to de-stress. I was hooked.
Fast forward to early July 2017, I was at work and Jeremy texted me and told me to go check out 1st Phorm’s Facebook page. I had won the Q2 male prize of $10,000! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t go into the Transphormation expecting to win anything. Remember…I had never really had success in weight loss and fitness before this year. As people found out I won, they would say things like “Wow! You did it!” as if I was done. Well, the next morning, I was up at 4:30 am and back in the gym. I was not going to slow down. I was fired up. I wanted to win the whole thing now.
I used part of my winnings to buy a new road bike. Jeremy gave me the challenge to do a 100-mile ride this year. I accepted that challenge without hesitation. He even said he would do it with me which was really cool of him to do. I trained week in and week out and fast forward to late October, and Jeremy and I met up to knock out 100 miles on a trail in West Virginia. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment! In addition to cycling in 2017, I hit PRs in running (9 min mile 5k) and weight lifting as well this year, all at 41 years old. I attribute most of this to a change in mindset more than the physical changes. Having the right mindset is everything.
2017 was not without challenges. I am going over the highlights but there are over 300 days in a year and the vast majority of those were spent waking up early, working out, and keeping my diet on point. Sometimes in the face of the scale not moving or worse going up. I texted Jeremy many times worried and the answer was always the same “don’t worry about the scale, trust the process”. So I did. The point is, be consistent. Hit your numbers. Work out. Every single day. That will involve sacrifice. Declining a night of beers or a piece of cake or a pasta dinner. I did that all the time in 2017 because to me my goals were more important.
Toward the end of the year, I was doing a Keto run and mixed in some intermittent fasting to shake things up. I found this was another key. You have to change up your diet, adjust your numbers, try new things to keep momentum. Keto was tough for me. Getting into ketosis took time and messing things up and learning. Fasting was something that was kinda scary but I ended up enjoying it (although I also really like eating 7 days a week too)
Late December…the end of the challenge! I had a pretty good feeling that I had a shot to win the whole thing. I had busted my ass. I put in the work. I loved how my final pics came out. So I waited for final results. While I didn’t win the whole thing, I won the Q4 prize. Another $10,000! Do I wish I had won it all? The competitive side of me says ‘Of course.’ That said, I won $20,000 in 2017 and more than that, changed my life after 40 years. I can’t put a price tag on that. I am a better Father, Colleague, Boss, Husband, Friend because of my changes in this challenge. It feels amazing. I can honestly say that I did my best in 2017.
I did everything I was supposed to do and I focused on having building discipline that will last for many years to come. I don’t have “good genetics”. I am not that guy that has been lean for a good part of his life, put on some weight and then snapped back to how I was. I needed to literally transform myself from a lifetime of bad habits and being fat and out of shape. For this reason, I was relentless. I had maybe 3 cheat meals all year? That worked best for me. Staying strict. Some people need that cheat meal once a week and that is ok. Being strict worked for me.
I lost over 85 pounds this year, gained muscle and reshaped my body in ways I have never experienced. I literally have been embarrassed to take my shirt off at the pool or anywhere for 40 years. Now I can do it with confidence. Unless you have been fat for most/all of your life, you don’t know what that feels like. It’s incredible. I know some of you reading this are nodding and saying “that’s me.” I started the year in size 40 pants, fitting snugly, XXL T-shirts and doing all the “fat guy tricks” to try to look less fat in my clothes. Now I am in a 34 (very comfortable) and can actually fit in 32. Most of my shirts are L and I seek out the slim fit because it is what fits best and I enjoy buying clothes now!
As my results became visible to others, I started getting asked what I was doing and how they could get started. I have had a number of people reach out, some I have never met, and I happily help them try to get on the path now. It is such an awesome feeling. I have made new friendships with some amazing people in 2017 through this challenge. It’s great to have new people that are like-minded enter your life.
As I look ahead to 2018, this change doesn’t end. I can confidently say that I have changed my lifestyle for good. 2018 is going to be about maintenance and then finding new ways to challenge myself in fitness. As an example, I plan to do my first triathlon in 2018, which will be a new way to push myself (particularly the swimming aspect). I have started training. Swimming is really hard for me. I have really never swam for endurance before. My mindset is different now. I love the challenge. I love the work. It’s hard and frustrating, but I know I will win. My results in 2017 make me feel like I can do anything. If you want to follow along with me, you can find me on Instagram: @demclaug and if you need any help, please reach out. I am happy to give any advice. I don’t make money doing this, I have a day job. I don’t sell anything. I really just like helping people and I know how impactful having people in my corner in 2017 was for my life and transphormation. So if you need anything, let me know!
– Dennis M.